GoWin R86S Performance
Instead of going through the entire Linux-Bench test suite, we are going to show a few performance and power numbers here to give a general sense of performance. This also gives us the opportunity to test with Linux/ Ubuntu instead of just Windows.
Python Linux 4.4.2 Kernel Compile Benchmark
This is one of the most requested benchmarks for STH over the past few years. The task was simple, we have a standard configuration file, the Linux 4.4.2 kernel from kernel.org, and make the standard auto-generated configuration utilizing every thread in the system. We are expressing results in terms of compiles per hour to make the results easier to read:
The Intel N6005 in this unit performed well. We are showing comparison data to our previous tests, but this is certainly one of the stronger N6005 platforms we have seen.
7-zip Compression Performance
7-zip is a widely used compression/ decompression program that works cross-platform. We started using the program during our early days with Windows testing. It is now part of Linux-Bench.
The overall performance is still not what we see from higher power parts, but one gets efficiency as the trade-off.
OpenSSL is widely used to secure communications between servers. This is an important protocol in many server stacks. We first look at our sign tests:
Here are the verify results:
The CPU is an important aspect in this machine. In lower-end boxes, the N5105 is our recommendation. In this one, the N6005 feels like a better fit. Having a bit more performance along with the 10GbE NICS is important.
OpenWRT, pfSense, OPNsense iperf3 Quick Test
The R86s came with OpenWRT installed on the 128GB eMMC. We just ran a quick iperf3 test using that platform as installed. As we would expect, we saw around line rate. This was a big question we had given the limited PCIe lanes on the N6005 SoC.
We installed pfSense 2.6, and saw similar results.
At this point, we had a sense of the outcome, but we saw a similar performance from OPNsense 22.7.
If you just want to run a simple NAT setup, perhaps using a few firewall rules, then the N6005 is fine. If you want something faster for IDS or another heavy application, you may want a higher-end CPU to pair with 10GbE links.
As a quick note, we tried running the 10GbE SFP+ ports at 2.5GbE and 5GbE speeds, but the ConnectX-3 could not handle those speeds. Assume it is 1GbE or 10GbE.
Next, let us get to the OS testing.
GoWin R86S OS Testing
On the subject of OS testing, we tested OpenWRT, pfSense, OPNsense, Ubuntu, Proxmox VE, Windows, and even VMware ESXi 8.0. A big part was we just wanted to see what would work.
Proxmox VE was probably our top choice for this box. The N6005 is fast enough for a basic NAT/ firewall setup using two 2.5GbE NICs. One can then use the 10GbE NICs to access other storage and have a final 2.5GbE NIC for management.
One challenge we had was that Proxmox VE would see the eMMC after it was installed, but it would not install on the eMMC. Windows also did not like the eMMC installation.
As one would expect, and perhaps the biggest bummer was VMware ESXi 8.0.
VMware felt promising. Putting ESXi on the eMMC storage seemed awesome so that we could have the hypervisor on the eMMC, then use M.2 for a local storage device. That was a good idea, but it did not work. We had to use the M.2 SSD for the hypervisor.
There was another catch with VMware ESXi 8.0. While VMware now supports the Intel i225 out-of-the-box, it no longer supports the NVIDIA Mellanox ConnectX-3. Given how much power the ConnectX-3 uses and the capability it provides, it is a shame that VMware dropped support for ConnectX-3. We understand that VMware is pushing new hardware and so it sunset the popular ConnectX-3 support, but the downside is that VMware’s poor HCL strikes again.
Next, let us look at power consumption before moving on to our final words.